The so-called ‘Island of Cows,’ Île-à-Vache lies about 15km south of Les Cayes. In the 16th century it was a base for the Welsh pirate Henry Morgan as he terrorized Santo Domingo and Colombia. Three centuries later Abraham Lincoln tried to relocate emancipated black American slaves here, but it was a short-lived and ill-provisioned experiment.
The island today is scattered with rural houses, plantations, mangroves, the odd Arawak burial ground and some great beaches, but the government seemingly has big plans for the eastern side of the island. A proposed $260-million project over 17.3 sq miles would include resorts and hotels with as many as 2500 rooms, along with a golf course and an airport. Due to conflicts with local residents, though, the project has been in a holding pattern since 2015.